Build A Fire Pit

Campfires Are Great

One of our favorite things to do at the cottage is have a campfire. There is something wonderful about sitting under the night sky, enjoying an outdoor fire, watching the stars and moon come up over the lake. It’s a great time for family and friends, and for some reason, a campfire encourages great conversation, sometimes, if you are lucky, it can also encourage a sing along. Hopefully one of your friends can play the guitar!

Build A Fire Pit

Building an outdoor firepit can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. These days folks seem to want to go for more elaborate outdoor fire places, with fancy stonework and patio stones or pavers on the ground, perhaps a chimney to take the smoke up and away. We’re kinda more redneck than that, and consider a faceful of eye-watering woodsmoke a rite of passage, something to be savored and enjoyed, at least until you learn to sit on the upwind side of the fire……

UFO Watch

I’ve had a campfire and some version of a “fire-pit” at the camp for as long as I can remember. As a young fella, my friends and I had a campfire almost every night in the summer. We’d watch the sky for UFO’s while we roasted marshmellows and hot dogs on skewers cut from a nearby maple tree bush. Those were the lazy hazy crazy days of summer that we all long for. Back then our fire pit was a circle of shoreline rocks on the ground, and we sat around it in adirondack chairs.

At one point I got elaborate and used bricks to make an outdoor fire place, which we quickly did away with when the bricks started breaking and sending splinters of hot brick through the air. One of our neighbors actually got a burn on her leg from a piece of hot brick…that was before I knew fire bricks existed…..but that is another story. Obviously they weren’t fire bricks.

So we went back to the shoreline rock structure for a fire place. The half metal barrel, or piece of culvert in the ground didn’t cut it for me, mainly because I don’t like having to look down to see the fire.

On the other hand, beach rocks tend to break up with alternating heat and then cold, so I have to rebuild it every so many years. But that’s OK, building a campfire fireplace is kind of fun. Our current campfire place consists of a hole dug in the ground and an old barbecue grill over it surrounded by large stones.

Although I am thinking we need one of these 30 inch round grates for outdoor fire pits

The sides of my homemade campfire pit are lined with some old sheet metal I scounged somewhere, and then the sides are made of stone, natural, real stone from around the camp. The stones break occasionally, but I just replace them, rocks we got lots of…..

I used to have a round fire pit, but these days we are using a fire pit design that features an open end, great for sticking in longer pieces of wood and shoving them in further as they burn down. The open end also allows for some air to get in, which makes the fire burn a little better.

I was talking about getting some mortar and cementing the rocks in place, making it more permanent, but then what will I do when one cracks, and besides, keeping it natural and loose means I can move it out of the way if necessary.

The other consideration is the size, as quite often our campfires take on more of a “bonfire” style, with big wood and brush piled on, doing double duty, getting rid of it, and providing wood for the campfire.

If you are thinking about building a fire-pit and want something a little more elaborate than some rocks piled in a circle, here is a pretty decent tutorial, How To Build A Fire-Pit

If you don’t want to build a fire pit, these days there are no end to the types of metal firepits that you can buy, some are true fire pits, some are chimineas. Somehow they are not quite ‘gritty and campy’ enough for me, but different strokes for different folks….I have to admit, I kind of like this Ball of Fire Outdoor Fireplace

The round shape of this fireplace gives everyone around the fire an unobstructed 360-degree view of the fire and it has a large pivoting door with large handle for easy refueling and for roasting marshmallows over the embers. It certainly looks cool….or is that hot?

Whatever, it’s an interesting idea, and one that I might add to my cottage wishlist although, it’s gonna be hard to beat those beach rocks…

Municipal Bylaws

Before you build a fire pit, install an outdoor fire place etc, check with your municipal regulations regarding outdoor fires. Many places have size restrictions on fire pits, and some don’t allow outdoor fires at all.

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